The University of Groningen (UG), founded in 1614, enjoys an international reputation as one of the oldest and leading research universities in Europe. It is a top 100 research university with a global outlook: The UG is currently ranked in 64th place (August 2021) on The Academic Ranking of World (Shanghai ranking) and 80 (2020) on the Times Higher Education ranking. The university has over 36,000 students, more than 8000 international students and about 6,000 employees, of which 3000 are R&D personnel, and an annual turnover of around €800 million. One of its scientific spearheads is the cluster of engineers, chemists, biologists and physicists of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) that intensively collaborate to generate fundamental understanding of natural processes and to exploit this knowledge for building designs and devices for novel applications.

This position is part of the EU-funded Nature4Nature project. Bioinspiration (including biomimetics and biomimicry) develops novel materials, devices, and applications inspired by biological structures and strategies. However, the main obstacle preventing this field from achieving its goals derives from differences in tools, practices and viewpoints of its practitioners. Nature4Nature brings biologists, engineers, designers and manufacturers together to deliver early-stage researchers (ESRs) teaching in a learning environment that connects the inspiration, integration and implementation aspects of the bioinspiration process to undertake the conceptual, methodological and practical challenges. To do so, the project will collectively focus on biological filtration mechanisms to explore, test and design high-throughput, clog-resisting filtration systems, which could ultimately alleviate the current problems facing aquatic environments.

The Biomimetics Group, part of the Energy & Sustainability Research Institute Groningen (ESRIG) at the UG and partner in the Nature4Nature consortium, is co-chaired by Prof. D. Lentink and Prof. E.J. Stamhuis. The aim of the group, currently hosting 2 postdocs, 8 PhD students, 3 technicians and 8 Master students, is to study organismal form and function regarding fluid handling processes such as swimming, flying, maneuvering, filtration, etc. Results from these rather fundamental studies are in many cases used to either design and perfect technical solutions that can be applied in everyday life, or to innovate, improve or perfect industrial processes and thereby e.g. become more sustainable and/or save energy. Many research projects lean on cooperation with industrial partners to safe-guard the application-side of such studies.

Project description
In an aquatic environment a wide-spread principle of collecting food particles is by filtration. Although filter feeding is found in almost all aquatic/marine animal groups, this project will concentrate on vertebrates, namely fish and birds. A number of animal filtration systems will serve as models to derive technical filtration systems from that should not be clogging when functional and can thereby inspire to improve existing industrial/technical filtration systems or inspire to develop new systems. The objective is to develop and realize physical prototypes of biomimetic filter systems that will then be evaluated for their filtration performance. The analysis will start with a study on filtration in manta ray-inspired designs based on existing literature. The efficiency will be quantified in terms of (1) particle concentration and sizes in filtrate versus unfiltered streams, (2) flow energy demands, and (3) their performance in single-pass configurations. Together with results from DC5 (see website for more information), design improvements will be implemented and evaluated. Flow visualization on physical models of other animal groups, such as cross-step filtrating paddlefish and pulsatile crossflow filtrating ducks, will be performed to validate computational models of DC5, and to be integrated with the results of DC4 to uncover the biomechanical principles involved. Initial results from DC4 may also serve as input for model development.

You will mainly be working at the Biomimetics Group of ESRIG (UG), The Netherlands. Models will primarily be developed and produced using Computer Aided Desing and HiRes 3D printing. Tests will be performed in our flow laboratories using classic quantification methods to assess filter efficiency and analyze for hydrodynamic functioning using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). 3D prototyping will be further developed during a secondment to Fraunhofer IWS and comparisons with Computational Fluid Dynamics analyses will be performed during a secondment to the HSB (Dept of Biomimetics).


  • applicants must hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in the fields of Biology, (Applied) Physics or Mechanical Engineering
  • transcripts of the master’s degree must be available by the date of the recruitment
  • applicants should have a strong affinity with research on animal morphology and biomechanics
  • applicants should have a strong affinity with CAD and hydrodynamics and a basic knowledge of programming (e.g. MATLAB, Python, or other)
  • applicants may be of any nationality but must comply with the Horizon Europe MSCA eligibility criteria*
  • applicants must be able to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English to a level that is sufficient for the completion of a PhD
  • all qualified applicants, including minorities and woman, are encouraged to apply.
  • HORIZON MSCA Mobility Rule: Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organization (The Netherlands) for more than 12 months in the past 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status are not taken into account.
  • HORIZON MSCA eligibility criteria: Applicants may not hold a doctoral degree or equivalent at the start date of the recruitment. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible.


Conditions of employment

We offer in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a salary of € 2,541 in the first year to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month in the final year (PhD salary scale), based on a full-time position
  • a full-time position (1.0 FTE). First you will be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate whether a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering of the Faculty
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
  • an 8.3% year-end bonus.


  • The selected candidate will be employed by the host organisation for 36 + 12 months. (The first 36 months will be financed by the EU/Nature4Nature project (EC Fellowship), the other 12 months will be financed by the host organisation)
  • The opportunity to be part of an MSCA Doctoral Network: the selected candidate will benefit from the designed training programme offered by the host organisation and the Nature4Nature consortium
  • The selected candidate will participate in international secondments to other organisations within the Nature4Nature network
  • Doctoral candidates are offered a competitive remuneration based on the MSCA allowances in line with the MSCA WP 2021-2022. The UG has received an EU grant to recruit a Doctoral Candidate (DC), consisting of a monthly Living Allowance, Mobility Allowance and Family Allowance (if applicable)
  • Costs associated with the network and training events are to be covered by the host institution.

The start date will be as of 1 September 2023


You may apply for this position until 14 March 11:59pm / before 15 March 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on “Apply” below on the advertisement on the university website).

The selection committee will review all the applications upon the application deadline.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:…)rsity-and-inclusion/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission’s European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

  • The recruitment process of Nature4Nature is in line with the principles set out in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.

Ukrainian researchers are eligible to benefit from the Science4Refugees initiative without the need of holding the refugee status.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

Additional information


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